Flappy tail - is it a bad thing?

  • BigFish
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5 years 1 month ago #33838 by BigFish
Flappy tail - is it a bad thing? was created by BigFish
Hi everyone,
I want to ask about the tail of my ski flapping from side to side while I paddle. The nose of my ski tracks very true. I paddle with a lot of body rotation and want to know if I would be better off learning to paddle with less rotation and not have the tail of my ski flop from side to side so much? Is there such a thing as too much rotation?
Some more information: I am 25, 90kg and quite physically strong. I paddle a v12 and an unomax. I would describe myself as decently fast and hold around 12-12.5km/hr in flat water for the 10km stretch. No matter what boat I am in, my tail flaps from side to side behind me, it probably tracks about 1 foot from stroke to stroke. When I try and back off the rotation I seem to go slower on the gps – maybe this is temporary?

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5 years 1 month ago #33840 by [email protected]
Are you sure you're not pushing the rudder pedals as you paddle?

I rig my rudder pedals so that they're aligned with the footplate or even droop a little the other way so that I can push hard on the footplate without engaging the rudder at all.

It may not be this, but I have seen people tapping the rudder pedals as they paddle, causing the same fishtailing that you describe.


Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

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5 years 1 month ago #33841 by PSwitzer
Flappy tail is bad.  It might be correlated with your rotation, but is not caused by rotation.  Rob's feedback is good, I agree, should start with troubleshooting inadvertent pressure on pedals.  If you are certain the pedals aren't accidentally flopping the rudder around, then check to make sure you aren't leaning the boat left/right too much.  If you let the boat tilt to the right, the boat will track left, making the tail veer right and vice versa.  

Assuming accidental pedal pressure is not the culprit, then you are somehow applying force in such a way that you have massive "leaks" in the connection between your feet/hips/ blade that are causing the boat to skew around.  Maybe post a video so us forum hacks can chip in our 2 cents if you don't have access to a pro coach?  

For internet coaching, start with Ivan Lawler's youtube masterclass and in your case you might enjoy the "power circle" teachings of Imre Kemecsey.

My guess is you are allowing a sideways vector to sneak in there, I used to paddle with a guy in the OC6 team boats who could actually make the entire 500 lb canoe shake side to side whenever he was in the boat.  Not good!

For what it's worth, I had the same issue, which in my case was caused by the pedal issue (big feet, wrong pedal angle) combined with a misunderstanding of what K1 pros are actually doing in the boat.  I saw videos of them pumping the legs and making the boat tilt side to side and snake through the water and was just trying to mimic that, without knowing what the hell they are actually doing.  I asked Zsolt to give me some feedback one time, thinking he was going to be super impressed with how pro I looked, and he slapped me around a little bit in a gracious way, and I came to my senses.  

Good luck and let us know how it goes- Patrick 

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5 years 1 month ago - 5 years 1 month ago #33842 by Henning DK
Maybe the tail flapping is a paddling style issue. 
I think it could be caused by a combination of:
1) Using a low style (not a bad thing as such)
2) Holding the paddle in a too fixed position when rotating. Only the upper hand should be fixed, don't push forward. But the lower arm should be loose (shoulder) and allow the paddle to move naturally outwards in the water. It should not follow the circle of your rotation, but it should be allowed to slide away from your boat and out of the water, also to keep the stroke short and not behind your hips.

Just an idea,
Last edit: 5 years 1 month ago by Henning DK.

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5 years 1 month ago #33843 by kwolfe
I have seen this is the video of Zslot paddling.  I watched that video 20 times.  In the end, I think that lateral motion is due to the contraction of your obliques when rotation.  Like doing a side crunch.  It helps rotation however at the expense of throwing your hip to each side.  

I guess you could try to work on rotating around your trunk instead.  Picture sticking a broomstick up your a** and having it come out the top of your head.  Only rotate around that axis.  This will require more leg drive.

Make sense to anyone else?

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5 years 1 month ago #33847 by insalt
Here's a cut and paste from a technical article. If you want to read it all ...
Google Vaaka
Training Articles
Boat movement in sprint kayaking.

On the other side, there can be more or less yaw on the stern side too. This is what we try to avoid and ifmeasured can easily reach an amplitude of 20cm or more. You can observe this phenomenon very clearly if you hold the bow of the boat and ask the athlete to paddle on the spot with the boat fixed from the front.
There will be quite a lot of stern yaw and sway, but the athletes will be able to quickly manage it better if you explain them to:
 Manage better the final part of the stroke (the part after the hips, shortening it a bit helps)
 Manage better the Radius 2 (R2 is the increasing horizontal distance of the shaft from the boat during the pull phase; the R2 should be always increasing). Some athletes tend to decrease the R2 in the last part of the stroke and come closer to the boat just before exiting; this last move of the blade approaching the boat can result in stern yaw and sway.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Watto, Henning DK

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